Cathay Pacific carried 1.8 million passengers in AugustBack to Forum
Cathay is now close to surpassing it’s 2023 goal of returning to 50% of pre pandemic business levels having reached 46% in the first eight months of the year.
The airline carried 10.5 million passengers in the first eight months of the year.
Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased by 342.8%, passenger load factor rose by 19.4 percentage points to 88%, and capacity measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs) increased by 244.9% year-on-year.
Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer, Lavinia Lau,Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau on Tuesday highlighted the strong travel demand, especially during the peak summer season and also said that the carrier is optimistic that business will continue to improve In the first half of the month, we saw consistently high demand for leisure travel from Hong Kong and the rest of the Greater Bay Area to various short-haul destinations. We also saw increased demand for outbound travel from Japan to Hong Kong and onward destinations in Asia and Europe in mid-August, coinciding with the Obon holiday period in Japan.
“Meanwhile in the latter part of the month, there was a notable increase in student travel to Canada, the US and the UK from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland ahead of the start of the new school year..“While overall the outlook for the rest of 2023 looks promising, we continue to add more flights for our customers, in particular to and from the Chinese mainland where we are currently operating about 170 return flights per week to 16 airports in 15 cities,” she said.”
It’s being reported today that the airline will continue to add flights and shortly also add additional flights to its key mainland market in order to meet the strongly growing demand and counter the additional flight of mainland carriers.21 Sep 2023
Hopefully they will focus on upgrading some of their relic planes with near 20 777-300’s over 20 years and with some A330s not far behind – i try and get on the younger A350s as far as possible and at least you are guaranteed a true business hard product. However whilst Cathay’s prices tend to be the highest for business, they do seem to slowly be coming down but there does feel that there is less competition still in HK v other cities.
There are some very cheap Cathay business prices when connecting from another Asian country via HK as for eg Bangkok to Seoul or Vietnam are only about HKD 3,000 one way.21 Sep 2023
Your above re fleet age is hopelessly wrong and very misleading -deliberately so ?
There is already a thread here re both Cathay B777 and A330 aircraft that outlines the up -grade action that is both already underway and planned.
It may perhaps be better to check the facts prior to posting
There are no 777-300 ERs over 15 years old. The eldest in service being 15.8 y.o.and the youngest just on 8 years.
There are older B777-300’s but only 7 of these are in service and this only because the ordered in 2020 replacement 777’s are 4 years late in arriving.
The average age of the total B777 fleet of 54 (39 in service) is 14.3 years
It has already been announced that all A330 aircraft air being refurbished – this is already underway
Of the 42 X A330’s only 28 are in service. The oldest aircraft are unlikely to rejoin the active fleet
Only 5 of the older aircraft that you mention are currently in service and 3 of these were totally renovated in 2019
18 of the A330s are under 12 years old with some only 8 y.o.
This is not a fleet of ‘relic planes’ that you wrongly allude to above.21 Sep 2023
I guess like many airlines it’s the luck of the draw in terms of the age of the plane and the seat/product you’ll receive. I had a few CX flights earlier this year in J:
B777-300ER from Paris felt ancient – the seat was really showing its age in looks and comfort. I think the plane was around 15 years old.
A330 regional 5 hours – this was by far the worst. I think it was over 20 years old. The IFE resolution/map seems to be the original from installation. Our giddy holiday excitement thankfully kept our spirits up.
A350 back to Europe – the newest long haul product available, significantly better IFE and refreshed seat which I thought was great but also a bit tight for a side sleeper.
What was consistent was the inconsistency in service levels. Meals forgotten, breakfast card left out but not collected and no breakfasts left. Most meals were fairly poor quality, with one exception. Two bags of three went missing, and claims for items purchased are still yet to be refunded several months later. Yet some crew were outstanding, personable, always obliging to help.
I think Cathay is just going through what most major airlines have already gone through as part of their recovery plans with so many new staff etc. It’s a wonderful airline but I wouldn’t pay a premium to fly them over some of their competitors.21 Sep 2023
Great to see the story playing out, I remain a little concerned that they don’t fully re-emerge quickly enough before we see a slowdown in global travel demand, they have in large part missed the ROW story, China might be the saving grace, let’s hope, but some doubts on the near term economic picture in the Mainland. Potentially some yield pressure if and when the Mainland carriers start to return capacity on international. CX like most airlines you have a variation of products, I think broadly CX does a pretty good job, yes some aircraft are older and showing their age, but as cwoodward outlines upgrades and new seats are coming. I think CX does push to the limit pricing for HK residents, you have a loyal, relatively wealthy domestic market, but sometimes the price variations between 1 stop or even other direct services with competing carriers are beyond ridiculous, I understand leveraging loyalty, but I have found myself trying other carriers, and somewhat enjoyed doing so, a bit of a dangerous game to play with a loyal passenger base, as more capacity international capacity returns (EK increasing, Vistara starting) I imagine pricing will start to moderate.22 Sep 2023
Andrew, It seems to me that in many respects Cathay has had little choice in proceeding as they have this year anit is difficult to deny that it has to this point worked well for them with still loadings across the board at close to 90%.
I agree that some of the few over 15 y.o. A330s are well used and scruffy in J. (E is better as that cabin was refurbished just prior covid) I went to HCM a few weeks back and although the seat showed recent basic tidying up the seat cushion was well past its use by date -just OK for the short flight but needs the announced urgent refit.
You mention the major Chinese airlines in the context of adding capacity however it seems that the 3 major players are already back to close to 90% of pre covid long-haul capacity so not a lot more to come from that direction at least in the next months.
Being something of a Cathay watcher I have noticed that the airline has become far more agile this year with frequent targeted fares and promotions many of which are country based. Just launched are a range of country based “Early Bird deals that offer very significant reductions on long haul travel covering the first 7 months of 2024. The Australian deal is fairly typical ‘economy Sydney to London return from A$1,678 OR Sydney to Paris return from A$1,624’-Travel period: 26 February 2024 – 31 July 2024. Ticket purchase by 30th September. Early ticket payment works wonders for an airlines cash flow and customer capture.
These sort of targeted promotions are going to be essential but in order to keep the aircraft full through 2024 and the airline is going to need to work hard and smart.The progressive introduction of new routes are I believe also going to be essential and I see opportunities in Africa and more eastern Europe with also a couple in Australasia.22 Sep 2023
i agree, since retaining my status months ago i have been aggressively looking at other carriers, unfortunately on HK route from UK my TMC has only been able to find AY with a good enough cost difference from CX to warrant changing. but as most of my routings are UK-HKG-SGN using AY with the timings that’s a hel (pun intended) journey LHR-HEL-HKG-SGN. using EK/QR/VN/AF/SG into SGN most of the time works our more expensive than via HKG even with a hotel in HKG factored in.22 Sep 2023
cwoodward the latest OAG data shows Chinese Airlines’ international capacity is at 54% of pre-COVID levels, capacity on routes to the UK being the only international destination to see higher capacity than 2019, and perhaps this explains why CX has pulled frequencies into LHR through the winter, not sure where you see the 90% figure? Capacity growth on international slowed to just 1% in July, with capacity to places like Thailand falling 5%, but US capacity rising 25%, if long haul capacity continues to rise, these are the cash cow routes for CX, and the Mainland carriers offer significantly cheaper fares, so I fear yield pressure.22 Sep 2023
I was using a recent IATA report projections –
‘Based on scheduled flights for May-July 2023, we
anticipate this growth trend will continue, raising China’s capacity to 53% of pre-pandemic levels. Maintaining this
observed trend, with an additional 3,000 flights per month, China long-haul flights would recover to their pre-pandemic
monthly levels by the end of Q1 in 2024
Ticket sales data also provides valuable insights regarding the demand recovery profile. Flight bookings and travel surveys
indicate that the outbound demand for air travel has been strong for Chinese travelers (McKinsey). Demand for inbound
travelers to China can also be assessed by the change in bookings or ticket sales for the upcoming summer travel period
(May – September 2023)
To recover in the first quarter of 2024, airlines would add over 95 inbound international flights per day on average, maintaining the schedule-based recovery trend through full recovery.
Cathay HKG – UK – you mention ‘pulled’ capacity above.
I am not seeing that Cathay has ‘pulled’ capacity to UK in the coming winter
In February I still see four daily flights 257-253-251-255 daily some days 237. Of course also Manchester daily22 Sep 2023
Cwoodward, I am pretty certain we have had this discussion in another thread, CX has leased LHR slots to EK and QR through the Winter, so they have reduced UK capacity. The IATA report is only a projection. The OAG data is the current status, and trending down, albeit still growing, of course, trends can change, but the IATA view seems a bit optimistic.22 Sep 2023
I think they leased 5 daily slots to Emirates if i recall.
@cwoodward – i specifically did not mention the B777 300 ER as being old. There are currently 11 777 300 operating which are over 20 years old – however my point was that as routes increase, they will bring more of these ancient planes into service. Some of the 777 300 ER are getting a bit old (along with some A330s).
I feel the only safe option is the A350 as there is less chance of them replacing with an old plane with poor business class v its competitors within Asia (and considering the price premium). I see dreaded old 777 relics with old business class are appearing more and more on Bangkok route in October but then decrease later in the year (as is currently now) – seems an odd decision when Thai, Emirates and Ethiopian have better products consistently.
Re cabin refit – what is the timetable as surely they should be doing this now whilst some planes are parked? Also on the A330s and 777s with the very old product, are they replacing with flat beds or the A321 new new regional product?22 Sep 2023
@MrDarwin – I am surprised re the food as i have always found Cathay one of the better ones. However, I do agree that service is all over the place and is not acceptable for their prices. It seems the senior crew do not work out a service plan as is very ad hoc. On some journeys, one side gets served first, others it starts from the front and others it is ad hoc (and rarely any priority for one world emerald). If you sit in the middle as a couple, we have never had our food served anywhere near together.
1 user thanked author for this post.22 Sep 2023
In the coming winter Cathay will operate 4 LHR flights daily and some days 5
My contribution above re HKG -LHR slots was based on dummy bookings made earlier today. i.e actual bookings via the HKG Cathay website NOT projections
Cathay have 7 LHR slots including one that I understand is leased from ANZ.22 Sep 2023
@christ I’m yet to find an airline that does the middle seats well for people travelling together. It’s just not part of the service flow to coordinate between the aisles seemingly. I was also surprised at the food, some of it was really bad – beef way overcooked it was exhausting trying to eat it.
Cathay pricing wise, I’ve been on the hunt for Aus flights from Europe in the off-peak Feb/March time. Lowest cost flight (on airlines I’d fly with) is an Oman Air and Thai mix, two stops GBP 2500pp in J. Cathay equivalents start from around GBP 4500pp from the same airports. Oman Air are a joy to fly with so I’ll happily pocket the change.22 Sep 2023
Mr Darwin I noticed your comment re poorly designed business class center seating.
Have you taken a look at the Cathay business cabin center row seats ? The seats in the middle angle toward each other and away from the aisle offering also a good deal of privacy and if desired a slide-out dividing screen if you don’t want to interact with the person next to you. .
It’s very comfortable to sit in the middle with a companion though there’s also a lot of privacy if needed but the design has well catered for those travelling together as what is not widely reported is that these seats (I believe possibly unique to Cathay) can actually be slid forward (by I believe 20cm)
This of course was specifically designed for those travelling together who want to chat and is especially pleasant when chatting over a meal . This simple easily operated feature makes a world of difference for couples or those just travelling together.23 Sep 2023